The History of Gulets

traditional wooden Turkisk gulet with sails

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If you've spent any time on the Mediterranean coast, you've probably seen holidaymakers enjoying cruises. Perhaps you've even had the chance to enjoy a cruise yourself. From the smallest fishing boats to the largest cruise liners, they say there's a boat for every sailor.

massive cruise liner anchored in Rhodes harbour

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The Introduction of Gulets

The distinctive wooden sailing boats popular along the coast of Turkey, Greece and Croatia are commonly referred to as "gulets" [pronounced goo-lets]. Often described as "classic" or "traditional", these hand-crafted vessels have only been around since the late 1970s. Before then, private cruises were limited to wealthy yacht owners or those willing to forego their creature comforts while voyaging on sponge diving or fishing boats.

classic wood gulet with sails raised

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As recreational cruising became more popular, ship builders started designing boats specifically for passenger comfort. While the outside of today's gulets may look like wooden boats from the past, even the most basic vessels feature guest cabins, private toilets and shower facilities, and a host of safety features to keep guests safe and comfortable.

silhouette of a Turkish gulet against colourful sunset

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The Anatomy of Gulets

Whether basic or grand, gulets feature two or three masts (although not all have sails) and one or more large diesel engines to propel them through the water. They have a broad beam, low profile and heavily weighted hull, making them stable vessels for cruising - a benefit for passengers who are susceptible to seasickness.

sailing gulet

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Gulets used for business purposes undergo annual inspection for sea-worthiness and safety. They must be equipped with life rafts, fire detection and fighting equipment, and life-saving equipment. They are also required to have emergency communications equipment on board.

The Continued Evolution of Gulets

Over time, demand for onboard comforts evolved. Gone are the days of "roughing it" at sea. Standard boats still exist, but most new boats are appointed with air conditioning, wi-fi, and solar electric panels. Some exclusive gulets even boast on-deck Jacuzzis, ensuite bathtubs, and museum-quality artwork adorning their interior walls!

classic gulet anchored in a peaceful bay

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There definitely IS a boat for every sailor!

Are you interested in learning more about gulets and gulet cruises? If you are, please take a look at the next instalment in this series where we discuss "Things to Consider BEFORE Booking a Gulet Cruise".

If you have any questions about this article, or would like more information about gulet cruising in general, we're always happy to help. Feel free to contact us any time for assistance.